The USS Little Rock rolled into the waters of the Menominee River Saturday morning from Lockheed-Martin’s Marinette, Wis., plant.
As the first of eight littoral combat ships currently slated to be docked at Mayport Naval Station by 2020, it is critical to the base’s future.
The littoral combat ship’s importance to Mayport is profound as it will replace — at least as far as numbers go — the retiring fleet of Oliver Hazard-Perry class frigates at the base of which only one remains. Just four years ago, 11 frigates called Mayport home.
Months of sea trials lay ahead before the Little Rock pulls alongside Mayport’s docks, with a delivery date set for December 2016. Though two ships will make a cameo appearance.
The USS Milwaukee and USS Jackson, LCS 5 and 6 respectively, are based in San Diego, but will operate out of Mayport for the better part of 2016.